4 critical items learned from 49ers Week 14 overtime win vs. Bengals
By Peter Panacy
No. 1: 49ers win games when their best players make best-player plays
In no particular order, San Francisco’s best players are wide receiver Deebo Samuel, tight end George Kittle, EDGE Nick Bosa, left tackle Trent Williams and linebacker Fred Warner.
On the second tier, the 49ers’ best are Brandon Aiyuk, Jimmie Ward and Jimmy Garoppolo, Jimmy G in that mix solely because of the importance of his position.
Williams was an anchor in pass protection and a road-grader in the run game, which is to be expected, even though the rest of the offensive line surrendered five sacks to Garoppolo. Yet Garoppolo, who went 27-of-41 for 296 yards, two touchdowns against zero interceptions, saved his best for last, going 6-of-6 for 77 yards and the clutch touchdown pass to Aiyuk.
Samuel, meanwhile added to the all-purpose yardage with 59 on nine touchdowns, netting the Niners their first touchdown on a 27-yard end-around run.
Read More: Deebo Samuel makes immediate impact in return vs. Bengals
Warner was a key reason why the Bengals averaged just 3.3 yards per carry with running back Joe Mixon and the ground game, while Kittle was an absolute force once again.
Kittle, who effectively won the game on his own shoulders, boasted 13 catches for 151 yards and a touchdown, proving once again, teams usually win games when their best players are making big-time plays.
Oh, and it helps Bosa had two sacks, too.
San Francisco getting top-end production from its top players will be vital in its remaining four regular-season games and any postseason push, so this was a positive development.